Archive for December, 2010
See, it’s dark out. So you either need a DSLR that can handle high ISOs or you need to use your flash. And flash on most point and shoot cameras leaves subjects blown out or framed by harsh, ugly shadows.
What to do?
1. Turn on all the lights. And turn your flash off.
2. Try to take a picture. If it’s crisp, you’re all set. Just watch that you don’t have goofy decorations growing out of your subject’s head. If it’s not crisp, you have a few things to try. (It probably won’t be crisp.)
3. Use a tripod. This can even be one of those tiny bendy ones. This will eliminate any shake from your hand going into the camera. But if your subject is moving too much, you will get blurs on them from that.
4. Turn on your flash. With a point and shoot, stay farther away and zoom in with your “optical zoom.” This lets the flash spread out a bit and also evens the levels between it and the ambient light in the room. You can also try increasing and decreasing the output of your flash. (Read the manual, folks.)
5. If you have a camera with a hotshoe (to attach a flash to the top of it), get an off-camera flash. Yes, those big dorky flashes still have their place. Then, rather than directing the flash at the subject, aim the head of the flash up or back or to the side to bounce the light all over the room. this gives a soft light all over everything.
6. For extra credit, if you have a DSLR, just spill the money for an f2.8 zoom in the normal range. It’s worth it. Then you can shoot pretty well even in low light without a flash. And if you really like it, go for a 35 or 50mm fixed (prime) lens at f1.8, 1.4, or 1.2. (These can get pricey.)
Now you’ll be ready when Baby Rudolph is born. (Wait a sec…)
(As the follow-up to yesterday’s post on the need to act now, here is the promised “how” of doing new big stuff.)
We are often daunted by the size of ideas we have, so much so that we don’t do our ideas. “What if we started that?” and “I should totally do that!” come out of our mouths or hearts. One would expect a flurry of action to follow. Instead, we often only muster a “huh…” while carrying on our status quo lives.
When people say, “You should come visit!” I often give them a warning: “Be careful what possibilities you extend to the Jeskes!” Because we do what needs to be done to make interesting, fun, exciting things happen. I’ve found the best summary of this to be Getting Things Done.
GTD is a system with a few key points, one of which is to figure out the next tangible step. I call this the baby step. When we have a good idea or some inspiration, we often see the hours, months, or years that it requires, rather than the phone call, the sketch, or the check-out from the library that is the actual first step. It’s the old “how do you eat an elephant” bit. But it’s truth.
Starting a book? Write one sentence. Have a trip idea? Contact the old friend who has been there. Starting a business? Write a purpose statement. Need a new car? Order the recent review magazine. Inspired to create a piece of beauty? Put “brushes, canvas, and paints” on your shopping list. What’s your baby step today?
My boss said this a couple weeks ago, and it’s been rattling in my skull every since. (Thanks, Scott.) Here I am in a demanding job, with a young family. We’re committed to our church and knowing and serving our neighbors. Every other month, at least, I’m writing (or co-writing) an article for Relevant. Yet Chrissy and I have just pushed out a book proposal including the first quarter of the book itself. And I volunteered with Help Portrait to give quality images to some families that otherwise might not have had any. And we’re in the middle of researching and putting in an offer on a house. And I’m working on a new website for my photography, writing, and speaking. Right now. Am I stupid?
Maybe. But the point is that there’s all kinds of great stuff to do in life and the only time you can actually do them is now. Now also has all kinds of reasons to not do things, like having a heap of other stuff going on in my life right now. But if you never do anything now, you never do anything.
That’s a bit of the macro level, the theoretical on doing new big stuff. Tomorrow, I’ll cover the how of doing new big stuff.
It’s been a year since I’ve seen you. Doughnuts, sledding, an apartment, and wifi have distracted me. While I’ve settled down, you’ve stayed where you’ve always been.
I miss you.
Your tall straw savannahs, spindly acacia thorns lightening through. Loud voices between friends in the street. Generous plates of simple, delicious food from people I don’t know. Perspective that only arises from the grace of hardship. Bands of children running to see me putter past on my little isithuthuthu, motorcycle. Twiggles—two kilo bags of day-glo cheesy corn snacks. Clambering over rocks on the Indian Ocean and being awoken at 2am to buy fresh rock lobster for a few Rands. Smiles in the market. Umlungu. Mzungu. White man. Mountains of mangoes. Impossible hairstyles. The desolate ridges snaking off below Sani Pass. Livestock in the road. A cappella hymns that soar past tin roofs, pierced by whistles and stomping.
Perhaps I could come again soon? And maybe bring some more friends?
The First Rule of Being a Superhero is to know your strengths and weaknesses. Superman? The former is super-strength, super-speed, flight, super-breath, awesome cape, and that sweet curl of hair. The latter is kryptonite (and a hidden identity).
In the last six months, in moving into a communications leadership position with a large nonprofit, I’ve started following the First Rule of Being a Superhero. I know I have been made with an overactive idea gene, a tingling sense of the immediate action, lingering yo-yo skills from a lonely childhood, abnormally large faith, and an odd penchant for elegant Jell-O desserts.
On the other hand, I’ve come to realize I need to watch out for tall stacks of reading materials, oozing meetings led by others, amorphous meetings led by me, the blackhole of the inbox, and an over-stimulated sense of responsibility…like many other superheroes.